Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Call to Nortel

Nortel has been known to Canadians as many things from ‘our darling’, ‘our baby’ to {insert something not so nice}, and as the devoted parents, we have been watching anxiously, hopefully. Like most Canadians and many people around the world, I have been reading the news surrounding Nortel since it filed for creditor protection earlier this month.

In a time when we are all too familiar with the word ‘recession’, Nortel faces bankruptcy, which is a direct reflection of the industry it is competing in. The consumer wants everything better, faster and cheaper. Additionally, this market is changing by the minute; one bad decision can devastate a reputation which is then reflected in the stock market. This was certainly the case with Nortel; at its peak in mid 2000, the stock was valued at more than $1100 per share as compared to 15 cents Canadian on the Toronto Stock Exchange on the day of the bankruptcy announcement.

Impressively, Nortel remains one of the countries largest employers, and a quick look at their web site will confirm that this company is staying connected with progressively new and competitive technology. There is great potential here. By the way, the site also offers a look at its restructuring plans.

The fate of the company seems to lie in the hands of the current CEO, Mike Zafirovski, who has admiringly taken over the monstrous task of saving the Nortel name since 2005. He does not see bankruptcy as the end but a new beginning and is quoted as saying "So we looked at how do we redirect R&D spending”. In hockey terms, he "wanted to go to where the puck [was being hit] rather than where the person is.” Thankfully he is not a coach in the NHL or he would already have his walking papers in hand.

From all I have read, I kinda like Mike. To begin with, his goals are to be more focused and financially sound which I believe is the key. He is committed to regaining shareholders' confidence. When looking at Nortel history, it would appear they got big fast (during the boom of the late 1990’s, Nortel had over 90 000 employees), and they were quite diversified. After the down hill slide began, the company went through a controversial process of selling off some of its technologies in order to focus on others; the complaint was it choose the wrong technologies to sell and the wrong areas to focus on. However, what those squeaky wheels neglect to highlight is the fact that Nortel is committed to quality in the products it does produce; a value I find commendable.

I am thinking of giving him a call right now on my Nortel made phone just to let him know that I am behind him all the way. I’ll let him know that I am hopeful for that miracle stock market jump that will save the many who invested their savings in 2000. I am glad the corporate jet has been grounded as I am sure the money saved here is going to go to the deserving pensioners and I am looking forward to the face of our ‘new Nortel’.

I am on hold…

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Break-up with your Facebook status

A wee blather...

Amidst the flitting and festinate noise of my full working kitchen at home, many interesting and ground breaking (if only for me) conversations erupt around our harvest table.

On one particular recent evening, I overheard the statement ‘I need to get on Facebook and change my relationship status.” I found this statement quite intriguing and yet at the same time vexatious. Intriguing because I have been watching this young romance slowly get more serious and I was wondering what was considered the pivotal change. Vexatious because why does Facebook need to know right now? I was incensed!

Now, I am not impervious to new love and understand the temptation to want to share the news with the world, however, there are consequences to be considered here. Mainly, what happens when the break up occurs? Again, you are faced with sharing this with the world, only now you may not really want to. What is worse, Facebook makes it easy. They have added a ‘cancel relationship’ button. Simply push that button and it is complete - the relationship is officially cancelled, the news hits the mini-feed and everyone knows. (On a side note; why is being single represented as having a broken heart?)


Really, no one should give Facebook this much power. Facebook should never define how official a relationship is. The striking thing about this phenomenon is that the rules are yet to be established – it is all case law – we are learning as we go and sometimes quite painfully so. There are no handbooks, no written rules – it is malleable, raw – we are not ready.

I suggest you choose one of two routes from here –

1) omit the relationship status altogether – this protects everyone involved.

2) mock it to shame (some suggestions)

i) …is in love with watermelon

ii) …in a relationship with ‘Your Mother”

iii) …in a relationship with ‘herself’

I think it is great when young people list themselves as married to their best friend. These people are my heroes – they are stronger than the average Facebooker – Big Brother watch out – it is a Brave New World. Thank you Mr Huxley for the warning.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Canada Rocks for Obama

“49 songs from North of the 49th parallel”

In response to the American Obama playlist (yes, there is one), Canada, by way of CBC Radio 2, is composing an all Canadian playlist for the president elect. Considering it our gift, this number one radio station nation wide is accepting nominations until January 12, 2009 from all Canadians. This playlist should represent all genres of music spanning the gamut from classical to rap and all in between (or not). Check it out –

www.cbc.ca/radio2/obamasplaylist/

You can make your own suggestion by simply sending mail to obamasplaylist@cbc.ca, or call 1-877-222-8166. Ensure you leave a message as to why you think yours is a good submission.

Unlike the American list which is comprised of songs reflecting Barack Obama’s campaign message of celebration and hope, the Canadian list is distinct in its mission to exemplify or truly represent Canada at its best through music.

Many well known Canadian artists such as Ron Sexsmith and Great Big Sea have already jumped on this band wagon and have started their blog in support of this list; but I think this process is a true reminder of the amazing talent we have here North of the border! Neil Young, Sam Roberts Band, Jann Arden, Bryan Adams, Gordon Lightfoot, Sarah Harmer, k.d. lang, Feist , Sarah McLachlan, The Tragically Hip to name a few. And one must not forget to fight the big fight and vote for the little guys like The Stills, Jill Barber and her brother, Matthew, David Miles, Ian Tamblyn...the list goes on. We are GREAT! And, of course, this list represents my particular music interest.

I have to put forth Neil Young, Old Man as my personal favourite, though Neil is known to be political and his convictions are reflected in many other songs of his like A Song Alone where he notes “This is the Age of innovation. Hope matters. But not hope alone.” Mr. Young even sings about Obama in "Lookin' for a Leader".

What about you? What do you think? Tell me...

If you feel like you missed out on a chance to take part in an election when Governor General MichaĆ«lle Jean suspended Parliament until the end of January – here is your chance to vote for something truly important. Voting takes place from January 12th until January 16th. The top 49 supported songs will sound out over the airways on January 20th to welcome Barack Obama as President, the first ever black man to inhabit the White House.

Namaste